Brian Armstrong (businessman)
|Born||January 25, 1983|
San Jose, California, U.S.
|Education||Rice University (BA, MS)|
|Occupation||CEO of Coinbase|
Brian Armstrong (born January 25, 1983) is an American business executive and investor who is CEO of cryptocurrency platform Coinbase. He received media attention for his policy of keeping the workplace free of political activism.
Early life and education
Armstrong was born on January 25, 1983, near San Jose, California; both of his parents were engineers. He attended Rice University in Texas, and earned a dual bachelor's degree in economics and computer science in 2005, followed by a master's in computer science in 2006. While at Rice, he started a business matching tutors to students, and after graduating, spent a year in Buenos Aires while working for an education company. While in Buenos Aires, he saw firsthand the effects of hyperinflation that were affecting Argentina at the time.
In 2012, Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam co-founded Coinbase, as a way for cryptocurrency enthusiasts to trade bitcoins and other digital currencies. Armstrong was its first CEO. A 2018 funding round valued the company at $8.1 billion, and in December 2020, the company filed with the SEC to go public through a direct listing. Following a direct listing in April 2021, Coinbase's market capitalization rose to $85B, and according to Forbes, as of May 2022[update], Armstrong has a net worth of $2.4 billion.
He was also featured as the main protagonist in the 2020 nonfiction book Kings of Crypto: One Startup's Quest to Take Cryptocurrency Out of Silicon Valley and Onto Wall Street.
Armstrong wrote a blog post  in September 2020 calling Coinbase a "Mission Focused Company", discouraging employee activism and discussion of political and social issues at work. He offered generous severance packages for Coinbase employees uncomfortable with this policy; as a result, sixty employees (amounting to 5% of the company) left Coinbase. Prior to this, Armstrong supported the Black Lives Matter movement and tweeted when George Floyd was murdered: "I've decided to speak up. It's a shame that this even needs to be said in this day and age, but racism, police brutality, and unequal justice are unequivocally wrong, and we need to all work to eliminate them from society."
In 2021, Forbes named Armstrong #1 on its Crypto Rich List, with an estimated net worth of $6.5 billion as of February 2021. He was also listed 60th on the Forbes 400 list of the richest people in America.
In 2018, Armstrong was the first cryptocurrency executive to sign the Giving Pledge, when he pledged to give away the bulk of his wealth to philanthropic causes. He also set up a philanthropic effort called GiveCrypto.org, to allow people to make public or anonymous donations to help others living in poverty.
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- "Forbes Profile". Forbes. Archived from the original on 13 May 2022. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
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- "Coinbase Is A Mission Focused Company".
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- "40 Under 40". Fortune. 2017. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
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- "Forbes 400 list". Forbes. Archived from the original on 11 January 2021.